D'Artagnan is the protagonist of Alexandre Dumas pere's 1844 novel The Three Musketeers and its film adaptations.
The story follows his adventures, where he leaves his town of Gascony to join the King's Musketeers in Paris. Along the way, his hot-headed courage arouses the animosity and friendship of Musketeers Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, who become his closest comrades against the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and his allies. A skilled swordsman, D'Artangan is impulsive, quick to provoke, abusive to his manservant and not above having romances with married women or dangerous ones (or their servants). Nevertheless, he is brave, dashing, and committed to his friends, his King, and his country.
Dumas based the character on a real-life 17th-century Musketeer named Sieur d' Artagnan, whose real name was Charles de Batz-Castlemore d'Artagnan (1623-1673).
Dumas would continue the Musketeers adventures in Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne, or Ten Years After, which is also entitled The Man in the Iron Mask.
Many Hollywood adaptations of The Three Musketeers have softened D'Artagnan's character, making him more heroic in character (altering some of his romances into more innocent affairs). Recent films have given D'Artagnan a back story where his father had been slain by Rochefort, leading to a reckoning in the climax. Many adaptations of The Man in the Iron Mask establish D'Artagnan having a close relationship with the title character. D'Artagnan is either portrayed as protector of King Louis XIV (the good or bad twin) or a surrogate father to the hidden good twin brother, always rescuing him from his prison-mask and setting him up as King (sometimes at the cost of his own life).
The historical D'Artagnan made a brief appearance in the BBC TV Serial The First Churchills (1969), where he historically dies in the Siege of Maastricht in 1673.
Film and television
Actors who have played d'Artagnan on screen include:
Orrin Johnson in The Three Musketeers (1916)
Aimé Simon-Girard in Les Trois Mousquetaires (1921)
Douglas Fairbanks in The Three Musketeers (1921), and The Iron Mask (1929)
Walter Abel in The Three Musketeers (1935)
Don Ameche in The Three Musketeers (1939)
Warren William in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)
Gene Kelly in The Three Musketeers (1948)
Louis Hayward in Lady in the Iron Mask (1952)
Georges Marchal in Les Trois Mousquetaires (1953, French)
Laurence Payne in The Three Musketeers (TV serial) (1954)
Maximilian Schell in The Three Musketeers (TV movie) (1960)
Gérard Barray in Les Trois Mousquetaires (1961, French)
Jean Marais in Le Masque de fer (French film of The Man in the Iron Mask) (1962)
George Nader in The Secret Mark of D'Artagnan (1962, Italian)
Jean-Pierre Cassel in Cyrano and d'Artagnan (1964, French)
Jim Backus in "The Three Musketeers," (an animated TV adaptation shown as a two-part episode of The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo) (1964)
Jeremy Brett in The Three Musketeers (TV serial) (1966)
John Greenwood in the Doctor Who episode, The Mind Robber (1968)
John Lynch in The First Churchills (BBC TV series), episode 1 "The Chaste Nymph" (1969)
Kenneth Welsh in The Three Musketeers (Canadian TV movie) (1969)
Sancho Gracia Los Tres Mosqueteros (TV series) (1971)
Michael York in The Three Musketeers (1973), The Four Musketeers (1974), The Return of the Musketeers (1989), and La Femme Musketeer (TV miniseries) (2003)
Mikhail Boyarsky in d'Artagnan and Three Musketeers (1978) and its sequels (1992, 1993, 2009)
Louis Jourdan in The Man in the Iron Mask (TV movie) (1977)
Cornel Wilde in The Fifth Musketeer (1979)
Nikolai Karachentsov in Dog in Boots (1981)
Chris O'Donnell in The Three Musketeers (1993)
Philippe Noiret in La fille de d'Artagnan (The Daughter of D'Artagnan aka Revenge of the Musketeers) (1994)
Dennis Hayden in an early 1998 film of The Man in the Iron Mask
Gabriel Byrne in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
Justin Chambers in The Musketeer (2001)
Hugh Dancy in Young Blades (unaired TV series pilot) (2001)
Charles Shaughnessy in Young Blades (TV series) (2005)
Logan Lerman in The Three Musketeers (2011)
Luke Pasqualino in The Musketeers (TV series) (2014–2016)